The fellowship will allow Fagan, who is based in the UCT Department of Private Law, to spend 2003 at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg, where he will work alongside Professor Reinhard Zimmerman. Zimmerman, a visiting professor at UCT, has recently been appointed as one of the Max Planck directors.
Fagan will spend the year doing groundwork for a book that he plans to write on a branch of South African private law, namely the law of delict. This, he explains, is a set of rules that determines when one person can sue another for compensation for harm done. His book will not merely describe the doctrines comprising the South African law of delict, but will also evaluate them and, when they are found wanting, will prescribe changes and developments, says Fagan. The tome will feature comparisons with the doctrines of many European countries, thus the important stay in Germany.
"It's such a fantastic opportunity to expose oneself to international scholarship, which is essential," he notes of the fellowship.
The Humboldt Research Fellowship is made to highly qualified scholars, younger than 40, who are not resident in Germany, and applicants must hold a doctorate or should be in the process of completing one. The Von Humboldt Foundation makes around 500 of these fellowships available each year.
In addition to covering a number of other costs – such as travelling – the award also comes with a monthly stipend of around â‚¬2 500 (just under R26 000).
Fagan is the latest of a number of scholars from the UCT faculty to have won the fellowship, his forerunners including Professor Tom Bennett of the Department of Public Law, Professor Dale Hutchison of the Department of Private Law, Professor Dirk van Zyl Smit of the Institute of Criminology and Professor Danie Visser, also of the Department of Private Law.
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